Endangered Mussel Surveys

ES Mussel Divers on Kanawha River

EnviroScience Mussel Divers on Kanawha River

Native freshwater mussels are an integral part of river and stream ecosystems. Mussels remove particulate matter from streams as they siphon the water column to obtain food. Rejected particles and feces provide a food source for invertebrate communities that subsequently support fish populations.

Freshwater mussels also serve as excellent indicators of water quality. Anthropogenic sources, especially non-point source pollution, threaten native mussel populations. Other influences, such as sediment loading, dredging, and clearing riparian vegetation, can also alter mussel populations.

Channelization and dam construction can destroy mussel habitat. Invasive species, including non-native mussels such as the zebra mussel, can also threaten native species.

Today, many bridge, pipeline, and road rehabilitation projects require freshwater mussel surveys as specified by the federal Endangered Species Act. These projects typically involve:

  • Mussel habitat delineations
  • Qualitative surveys to determine the presence or absence of native mussels
  • Quantitative surveys to determine mussel diversity and density
  • Mussel translocations and subsequent monitoring programs

Freshwater Mussels Translocation grid1

Freshwater Mussels Translocation Grid

EnviroScience has extensive experience performing endangered mussel surveys for federal, state, and local transportation projects. In addition, our malacologists have conducted surveys associated with National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit modifications and dredging operations. Our experience with regional regulations and regulators ensures compliance with all project specifications.

Why entrust EnviroScience malacologists to perform endangered mussel surveys?

  • We have an experienced team of published malacologists and certified divers
  • Our biologists are U.S. Fish and Wildlife-approved mussel surveyors
  • EnviroScience’s underwater diving experience facilitates accurate freshwater mussel density estimates
  • We can provide customized project designs for each client
  • We utilize GPS/GIS and ArcPad technology for accurate mapping and monitoring
  • Our scientists have provided expert witness testimony on mussel-related issues
  • Our biologists use the latest technology in mussel tagging techniques

In Action

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    Few environmental firms in the country retain EnviroScience’s degree of scientific know-how, talent, and capability under one roof. The diverse backgrounds of our biologists, environmental engineers, scientists, and divers enable us to provide comprehensive in-house services and an integrated approach to solving environmental challenges—saving clients time, reducing costs, and ensuring high-quality results.

    Our client guarantee is to provide “Excellence in Any Environment,” meaning no matter what we do, we will deliver on our Core Values of respect, client advocacy, quality work, accountability, teamwork, and safety. EnviroScience was created with the concept that we could solve complex problems by empowering great people. This concept still holds true today as our scientists explore the latest environmental legislation and regulations and incorporate the most up-to-date technology to gather and report data.

    EnviroScience expertise includes but is not limited to aquatic surveys (including macroinvertebrate surveys and biological assessments); ecological restoration; ecological services (including impact assessments, invasive species control, and water quality monitoring); emergency response; engineering and compliance services; endangered mussel surveys; laboratory and analysis; stormwater management; threatened and endangered species; and wetlands and streams (including delineation and mitigation). Further, EnviroScience is one of the few biological firms in the country that is a general member of the Association of Diving Contractors International (ADCI) and offers full-service commercial diving services.